Three Things a Structural Foundation Engineering Report Can Tell You

A structural foundation engineering report is a good thing to get if you are building new construction on a site or remodeling an old building to greater heights. Essentially, a structural engineer comes to evaluate the site and/or the building to give you an idea of what you can do with it. The following three things are just a taste of what this evaluation does and what the resulting report can tell you.

Reinforcements You Will Need

Regardless of the additional stories to an existing building or the foundation construction of a new building, the report will tell you exactly what kinds of reinforcements you will need. Your construction contractor will then apply those changes and add the reinforcements. For example, you may need thicker foundation walls for a taller building or steel inserted into the foundation walls to prevent sinking in soft soils and splitting or cracking as the foundation settles.

Grade of Concrete to Use

There are actually several grades of concrete that the contractor can use to pour your foundation. The report tells him/her exactly what the minimum grade and maximum grade for the project are. Any grade in between those two grades is acceptable, although a lower acceptable grade is less expensive while the higher grades provide more safety and stability. Whichever you and your contractor choose, the concrete has to pass the building inspection and safety standards if people will be working or living in it.

Whether or Not Additional Stories Can Be Supported by the Current Foundation

Most foundations are constructed with the notion that "x" number of stories will be built on top of the foundation. Usually a contractor will create the foundation within the original parameters, plus give the building the ability to uphold a couple of extra stories in the future. The engineer's report will tell you if the building you want to remodel can withstand additional stories or not.

If the building has already had additional stories added to the roof of the building, and those stories meet the maximum weight allowance for the current foundation, you may not be able to build any higher without altering the foundation itself. Since that tends to be more costly than adding another wing to the building, most building owners choose to just add a wing. Building up from that foundation rather than attempt to alter the older building's foundation and build up is often less costly and less risky in the long run.